Friday, August 31, 2018

Retro Reviews: Just Imagine Stan Lee’s Catwoman (2002) Review

Kittens Got Claws

Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: Chris Bachalo, Richard Friend, and Bill Oakley
Cover Price: $5.95
Release Date: July 2002

Continuing on with the Just Imagine books, Catwoman steps up to the plate.  I am a big fan of Catwoman and was very interested in how Stan Lee would treat her.  He seems to want to really mess around with the basic concepts of the character, so I wondered if he would go a bit crazy with a "Cat Woman".  Well did he?  Let's find out...
We open the issue with a long intro to some thugs and finally their boss, Furgo.  He also goes by "Flesh Crawler", but don't hold that against him.  I mean, the guy dresses up in an astronaut suit, he can't be that bad, right?  Yes, he can be!

We finally meet model, Joanie Jordan, and not to spoil too much, but she will be Catwoman.  We also meet her cat, Ebony (makes sense) and get hints of green clouds.  If you have read any of the Just Imagine books you know that means shit is about to go down!

Shit does indeed go down when Furgo's hoods show up to grab Joanie.  It's all about getting into a bank where she is modeling that night, but after the baddies attack, and a green storm hits, it's obvious nobody is getting to that bank.

This is where we get the beginnings of Catwoman.  Joanie and Ebony both get hit by green lightning and the strike gives Joanie cat-like superpowers.  Yep, that's it.  She does use them immediately to kill the thugs and when the police arrive, she becomes a hero.

The large majority of the remainder of the issue involves Joanie testing out her powers and making her Catwoman suit.  She does get a visit from her dad who is just here to hate on superheroes thus making Joanie keep her secret...secret.  The issue closes up with Joanie getting captured by Furgo, escaping Furgo, fighting Furgo and finally bringing down Furgo.  It's all goofy fun with a little of the Church of Eternal Empowerment mystery continuing for good measure.

This is a decent issue that is elevated by the outstanding art.  Chris Bachalo is now a favorite of mine from this issue alone.  It looks that good!  Back to the story, Stan Lee checks off the appropriate boxes in his superhero playbook, but by the end, this seems more like setup than anything else.  I do like Joanie as Catwoman, but it feels like we hardly got to know her by the end.

Bits and Pieces:

This is a great looking issue that does what it has to do storywise, but not much else.  I like everything we get here, it just isn't enough.  Maybe that's a sign that I like it, which I did, but it left me feeling like I was ripped off a bit,


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